Friday, August 14, 2009

Modified Barium Swallow Test

Hi. I had my modified barium swallow test today. Given the phrase that a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be worth a lot more. Here’s a 40 second clip of someone (not me) taking the test…

About 30 seconds into the clip you can see how the liquid being swallowed collects for a few seconds (just above the Adam’s apple), then a swallow, and then it goes down the esophagus. As a result of my radiation and surgeries, much of my tissue in the pharynx region (that’s between one’s mouth and esophagus) is fused and just doesn’t move properly. This causes some food and liquid to enter my airway (a.k.a. aspiration). There are techniques I have learned over the past 2+ years to minimize aspirating. This includes eating in a reclining position and holding my breath while swallowing. The therapist administering the test was surprised by how much reclining helped me reduce aspirating. She also felt I had mastered the breathing while swallowing technique. I was surprised to learn that even with all I do to minimize aspirating, I still do aspirate. I could see it live on the motion x-Ray. Although it wasn’t a lot, she feels I am at high risk for pneumonia. One of the best ways for me to avoid pneumonia is to stay active. I guess this is good advice for just about everyone regardless of the circumstance.

The esophageal dilatation that I wrote about in my last two posts will not do me any good. The problem is in my pharynx, not my esophagus, and can not be used to widen an area in my pharynx. I feel good about trying, but disappointed in the result. The therapist that performed this test is setting up an appointment where they will show me some new exercises for my throat that may help with swallowing. That will be in about a month during my next clinic visit to the cancer center.

Take care everyone.


Pains Pills said...

cancer of the pharynx
is a disease more difficult to tackle because the symptoms of this disease but I am very painful but there are medications that may be satisfactory to subtract against the symptoms of the disease for example I take lortab and norco which are drugs very good in these cases.

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